Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lemon Chive Potatoes

Where did spring go? I am ready for warmer weather and less allergies! This weeks recipe is a sunny side dish. It would be perfect with chicken or pork.

4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into small cubes (unpeeled)
4 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup diced green onions OR 1 tablespoon chives
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon dill weed

1. In large skillet, pour in one cup water and bring to a boil.
2. Add potatoes and bring to boil again.
3. Reduce heat and cook 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
4. In saucepan melt margarine and mix in spices.
5. When potatoes are done, remove from water, put in serving dish.
6. Pour margarine-lemon sauce over them.
7. Add green onions or chives to coat all potatoes, serve.

Serves 4 – 175 calories
6 grams of fat 2.5 grams fiber

One Last Wintry Blast?

It looks like we are due for one last onset of sub-freezing temperatures this week. (Next week they are forecasting 36, which still isn’t that spectacular.) The forecast Thursday night is for 29 degrees. If you only have cool season vegetables out, this really isn’t anything to worry about. You don’t even need to cover them. If you’ve got tomatoes or peppers planted, you will definitely want to cover them!

I also noticed that our newly planted rhubarb crown bit the dust sometime in the past couple weeks. It had a couple of new leaves growing, but they are gone now and the crown seems crumbly and dead. I suspect fluctuating temperatures had a lot to do with that.  Rhubarb crown number 2 is coming soon! We’ll see if we can keep that one alive.

Leggy Tomato Seedlings

Our tomato seedlings have really taken off. In fact, I think they are a bit more leggy this year than some years. I’m not a fan.

These plants are just 3 weeks old! Well…the seeds were planted 3 weeks ago today. This is why I try very hard to start our tomatoes no sooner than 4 weeks before we want to plant outside. Normally I would be starting to put them outside for hardening off right now – except that it’s only 44 degrees outside. Yeah, not so much. Most years I insistently hold the line on not planting our tomato plants before the first week of May, and this year I decided that we could plant on April 23rd so they were in before Herb Day. (I’m going to be away from the garden on April 30th.) Well, at present they are still forecasting overnight lows below 40 degrees for next week. No tomato plants going outside here!

Yes, I suppose we could break out the milk jugs (ugh, they blow away in the wind!) or the wall-o-waters (ugh, expensive!). But I don’t really think there is much benefit to doing those things at this point.

Part of the reason the plants are so leggy this year is that they level of my light stand they are on has 2 of the 4 fluorescent tubes burned out. I think it is the fixtures, because the same tubes are burned out every spring. The peppers and eggplant under the middle tier aren’t getting leggy yet.

So, since I can’t put the plants outside, here are the steps I’m taking to prevent further legginess:

1. Moved them to the bottom tier of lights where there are 4 tubes working.

2. Placed the lights as close to the tops of the plants as possible without actually touching.

3. Provide minimal fertilizer. (I’ve only fertilized once because I saw a little bit of purple color showing up on some of the leaves.)

4. Keep my office cooler…yeah…I can try!

5. Put them outside whenever a warm, sunny day presents itself. (Even a cloudy, warm day would be acceptable at this point.)

Whenever you are getting leggy seedlings the keys to keeping them shorter are: more light, closer/brighter light, cooler temps, less fertilizer, less water. Even small differences can make a big difference in the growth of your plants.

Oh yeah, and I’m hoping that the forecast straightens out into something more closely resembling mild spring weather.

Parsnips!

Hey, look what I found out in the garden this morning?

Those little, tiny pairs of kinda pointy leaves? Those are the parsnip seedlings! They have survived quite the weather fluctuation so far. (The bigger seedlings with the pink stems are the radishes.) Obviously, with our lovely weather, the radishes aren’t quite as big as we hoped they would be by this time. If we can just stay semi-warmish for a few days, those radishes should really take off! We will have to be careful when it gets around to harvest.

Friday PhotoEssay – Icy Edition

As you can imagine, I’ve got some lovely, icy pictures for this week, as well as the “aftermath” pictures. I know, I’m trying to make it sound all dark and foreboding. It’s not, really. You don’t have to be afraid to read to the end of the post.

This is the red lettuce that I transplanted last Saturday as part of the Saturday Sampler series. It got a lot darker just over the weekend. (This is a “before” picture.)  I just love the contrast of the white ribs and the red leaves.

I’ve had a couple people ask if the garlic is almost ready to harvest, because it is supposed to brown and dry back as a sign it is ready. This leaf browning is still due to the temperature fluctuations of winter and cold injury, not readiness of harvest.

Iced vegetables! The droplets of ice make these shallots into something of an art project! It is so interesting how you can see the direction the droplets were flowing as they froze.

I think it is really interesting that the ice/rain/whatever you call it didn’t actually manage to coat the pea leaves. The ice is frozen in droplets on the tips of the leaves in some cases, but the plants aren’t completely coated.

The radishes, on the other hand, were completely coated in ice. This radish seedling had about and eighth of an inch of ice on it. Poor thing!

Whoa! Somehow an ice storm built us a grape trellis! Oh, wait…that was one of the Master Gardeners. Oops! Now we have to decide what grape to plant…

Here’s the “after” shot of the radish/parsnip rows. Still no parsnips, but that’s still normal. The radishes look almost as good as new! No damage here!

The edges of some of the lettuce leaves look a little bit nipped from the cold and ice, but overall, things are in good shape!

Have a great weekend!